Thursday 30th October 2008
Capital Nights is a new contemporary dance festival that showcases companies
from previous European capitals of culture; it is presented and organised
by MDI (Merseyside Dance Initiative).
During four days, Liverpool becomes the European capital of dance, showcasing
companies from cities such as Dublin, Amsterdam, Genova and Liverpool.
There are also seminars and talks.
For dance lovers, this is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the best of
European contemporary dance.
Thursday’s night comprised of a triple bill including companies
hailing from Amsterdam, Dublin and a Bristol-based solo performer.
The event started with a 16 minute piece by Québec dancer LaÏla
Diallo (above), The Wayside; this
is a solo performance that explores the subject of departure, the piece
fails to engage and inspire; without any other visual aid and with background
music used sparingly, Diallo becomes the centre of a piece that for all
its shortness becomes too long. Rather than using this as a chance to
display an accomplished technique and passion, by insisting in sticking
to a more abstract and poetic angle, the piece falls flat.
Next it’s the Dublin trio from the Rex Levitates Dance Company
who presented the piece Shared Material on
I must confess that both the name of the company and the title of this
performance spring to mind one word: pretentiousness.
But of course, for the sake of writing an objective review, I leave my
preconceptions behind and try to concentrate on what happens on stage,
which is not much really.
Three women, dressed identically, dancing in complete silence, with very
slow movements first that then gradually gather momentum.
By mirroring their movements, the three dancers become one. Whilst two
of the dancers remain in the shadow, it is the one in the middle who gets
the full attention and who seemingly leads the way.
By depraving the piece of any background music, we feel compelled to
completely focus our attention on the dancers, who do their best to fill
the void by producing what it is at times a fine performance.
The evening finished with a more ambitious piece presented by the Dutch
company Anouk van Dijk dc.
Created originally for the Russian company Provincial Dances Theatre,
Am I Out?, this is a very dynamic
piece that explores Russian society in the times following the fall of
the Soviet Union.
Music and performers blend perfectly here; four characters, two male
and two female, present us a highly physical performance, that sees dancers
producing original and finely delivered movements.
Visually interesting and engaging, Am I
Out? is no exempt of sense of humour that gives the piece an extra
This last company really showed a quality that is not far from what you
would expect from a festival presenting the finest contemporary dance
across the continent.